John Lennon’s promotional videos
JOHN LENNON THE PROMOTIONAL VIDEOS
by Mike Carrera
We did it with Beatles and McCartney, now is time for Lennon. During his solo career, John taped or produced or gave permission to create promotional videos for only 5 songs:
1: Give Peace A Chance (1969, with two versions)
2: Cold Turkey (1969)
3: Instant Karma (1970, with two versions)
4: Happy Xmas (War is Over) (1972)
5: Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (1974)
Plus 10 songs from the “Imagine” album that were part of “Imagine The Film”, a film from 1972 where each song have their own video. The original televised version was trimmed down when released on video cassette in the eighties.
|Video cassette release.|
And he also filmed two more videos that were never completed during his life, “I’m Losing You” (original Double Fantasy version) and “(Just Like) Starting Over”.
The rest of the versions and videos that we have, were created after his death and until more recent years, and some, but not all are available on the official collections:
This is a chronological list of all known OFFICIAL John Lennon music videos, a total of 76 which includes variations and new versions. Any comments on mistakes/contributions/etc are welcome.
GIVE PEACE A CHANCE
01 – Give Peace a Chance #1 (1969)
The first official Lennon video, edited together from a lot of “Bed In” footage recorded in Montreal, Canada May 1969 and other footage from Bahamas for example, available from the original unedited 16mm film, 6 minute and 20 second version. Featuring John giving some instructions at the beginning and also at the end there is more chat after he says “let’s rest”.
02 – Give Peace a Chance #2 (1969)
The second edit is a 5 minute version, no additional intro chat, starts directly with the count-in and ends when John says “let’s rest”. There are different “bed-in” scenes inserted that are not present in version #1.
03 – Give Peace a Chance #3 (1992)
This is the same as version #2 but ends earlier, comes from the “John Lennon Video Collection” and features an additional intro teaser with the title of the song, also ends after John says “OK, Beautiful yeah”.
|The John Lennon Video Collection VHS release (1992)|
04 – Give Peace a Chance #4 (2003)
From “Lennon Legend”, this film features footage from war and political conflicts along with the same “Bed-in” Footage from past versions. 5 min and 10 second version, with all the dialogue at the end after the song is finished, but starts directly with the count-in.
05 – Give Peace a Chance #5 (2010)
This version from “Power To The People” starts with “two” on the count-in (the other 4 versions have the full “one, two” count- in) and is the same as Version #4 except for the very end, which has different footage, also only last 4 minute 57 seconds. Doesn’t have any additional dialogue at the end.
|“Power to the People – The Hits” CD + DVD is the current video compilation.|
06 – Cold Turkey #1 (1969)
Directed by Jonas Mekas using different footage from the “Bed-In” in Montreal and the Toronto concert 1969, plus some external footage to create an “experimental film”, broadcast on BBC Nov 6, 1969 on Top of The Pops.
07 – Cold Turkey #2 (1992)
This is the same as version #1, comes from the “John Lennon Video Collection” and features an additional intro teaser with the title of the song.
08 – Cold Turkey #3 (2003)
A new video was created for “Lennon Legend” using footage from the “One to One Concert” and Lennon and Ono leaving the Marylebone Magistrates’ Court in London, 1968.
09 – Instant Karma #1 (1970)
10 – Instant Karma #2 (1970)
Two different Bag Productions videos using archival footage from John and Yoko from 68-70.
Version #1 was broadcast on Top of the Pops , February 5, 1970 and is in black and white, it features Lennon’s red clown’s nose while recording at EMI Studios on December 4, 1969, while Version #2 all in color, features a mix of archival footage along with a car ride video with a sunset effect; no available info whether this version was broadcast at that time. Both versions end with the Lavenham, England hot-air balloon ride shoot December 5, 1969. (later released using different footage as the 18 minute short experimental film “Apotheosis”).
11 – Instant Karma #3 (1992)
12 – Instant Karma #4 (2003)
While these two different versions were originally taped for the TV show “Top of the Pops” on February 11, 1970 (first version (John with blue denim jacket) broadcast Feb 12, 1970 and second version (John wearing black turtleneck) on Feb 19, 1970), were used as promo videos years later. Version #3 appears on the “John Lennon Video Collection” from 1992, using the original broadcast with live vocal audio over the studio track, while Version #4 was released on “Lennon Legend” in 2003, but changing the original audio track with live vocal and replacing it with the clean studio version (the original live vocal of this version is also in circulation).
WORKING CLASS HERO
13 – Working Class Hero #1 (1998)
This rare video was available only as part of the “John Lennon Anthology” EPK (Electronic press kit, only released to the media), features also the Anthology version with the “Well, Well, Well” coda. The video (like most of the Lennon videos) is a combination of well known footage from various periods of his solo years.
14 – Working Class Hero #2 (F… Version, 2000)
15 – Working Class Hero #3 (Non F… Version, 2000)
A 6:44 minute “video history” of John made for the 20th anniversary of this death using as musical bed the same version of “Working Class Hero” from the Lennon Anthology from 1998 but removing the “Well, Well, Well” coda and adding some comments by John himself, interview clips, pictures and archival footage from all periods of his life, as a Beatle and solo.
Version #2 is the well known one, having the “f” word, while Version #3, is the “non f word” one, the rarest, only removing the audio part while John says this word.
16 – Working Class Hero #4 (2003)
A completely different and new conceptual video was released for “Lennon Legend”, having a child portraying a young Lennon.
17 – Love (2003)
A video created for “Lennon Legend” using archival footage.
18 – Mother (2003)
Another conceptual video created for “Lennon Legend” using pictures of a young John, and also Fred and Julia, etc.
|The “Lennon Legend” DVD featured a lot of newly created videos.|
POWER TO THE PEOPLE
19 – Power To The People #1 (1992)
20 – Power To The People #2 (2003)
21 – Power To The People #3 (2010)
Version 1: 3 minute 11 seconds (plus 10 seconds of additional intro teaser)
Version 2: 3 minute 44 seconds
Version 3: 3 minute 22 seconds
While all three could look the very same, they are different versions. From start to the 3 minute mark, version 1 and 2 are the same, but after that, different footage appear, plus version 2 is the full length rendition without any fade out. Version 3, compared with version 1 and 2, has a strong red color on the “Power to The People” sign that appears several times, and strong white color on the same sign that appear just once, plus, from start to the 2 minute and 17 second mark, version 1 and 3 are the same, but after that, Version 3 is completely different until the end, featuring more footage from the August 11 , 1971 protest in London, not available on any other version.
22 – Power To The People #4 (The US vs John Lennon)
A 2 minute video created by Capitol in 2006 as part of the soundtrack of “The U.S. vs John Lennon” documentary, completely different from any of the other three versions.
23 – Imagine #1 (1972 long intro)
24 – Imagine #2 (1972 short intro)
Version 1 runs 4 min and 5 seconds, has the long intro sequence in the woods, while version 2 is 3 minute and 27 second long, and also features the title “Imagine” right before the song starts. Both versions comes from the “Imagine The Film” documentary.
25 – Imagine #3 (1992)
This is almost the same as version 1 and 2, except it has the introduction teaser clip that all videos from the 1992 “Video Collection” have, and starts directly with the piano notes and the end is complete, showing John and Yoko kissing each other and a picture of the ‘Double Fantasy’ cover shot.
|Laserdisc edition of The John Lennon Video Collection.|
26 – Imagine #4 (1998- conceptual)
A very rare and obscure video created to promote the “Imagine The Film” soundtrack, hardly seen after that. The video represents the cycle of life of a boy growing up, finding the right girl, problems of life, having children, getting older, all simply by crossing a door over and over and over. At the end, a grand white piano appears.
27 – Imagine #5 (2003)
A 3 minute 55 second video, almost the same as Version 1 but the intro is a few seconds shorter, and the kiss at the end is complete and with a white fade-out effect.
28 – Imagine #6 (2003-instrumental)
A collection of pictures over the instrumental track.
Also in circulation among video collectors, is a 3 minute clip of outtakes from the “woods” intro sequence, although never released as an official video.
29 – Jealous Guy #1 (1972)
From “Imagine The Film” with footage shot at Tittenhurst Park, Ascot.
30 – Jealous Guy #2 (1988)
From the soundtrack of “Imagine John Lennon”, directed by Steve Purcell, using a collage of pictures and old Beatle videos, and footage from the recording session.
|“Imagine John Lennon” documentary film.|
31 – Jealous Guy #3 (1992)
Same as Version 2, adding the introduction teaser from the “Video Collection”.
32 – Jealous Guy #4 (2003)
At some point, starts the same as version 1 just for a few seconds, after that, a completely different and new video created for ‘Legend’, using outtake footage from the 1972 Tittenhurst Park video shooting, plus footage from the recording session.
IMAGINE THE FILM
|Laserdisc edition of Imagine The Film|
33 – Gimme Some Truth #1 (1972)
34 – Gimme Some Truth #2 (2010)
Both are the same, but the 2010 version has the video in top quality. Version 1 was part of “Imagine The Film” but also as an individual promo with his own slate.
36-Oh My Love (1972)
37-Crippled Inside (1972)
38-It’s So Hard (1972)
39-I Don’t Want to be a Soldier (1972)
40-How Do You Sleep? (1972)
41-Oh Yoko (1972)
|The laserdisc edition had artwork based on the album cover.|
All the videos comes from the “Imagine The Film” documentary from 1972 but also available as individual promo films with their own slates, at least “How?”, “Oh My Love” and “Crippled Inside”.
HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER)
42 – Happy Xmas (War is Over) #1 (1972)
Rare version 1 was produced by the BBC, first broadcast on December 14, 1972, and features footage from a church, along with still pictures of the Lennons recording with the Harlem choir. Available among video collectors from a BBC re-broadcast, this version is not present on any of the official video collections to date.
43 – Happy Xmas (War is Over) #2 (1992)
This second version was directed by Gerard Meola and features video footage of the 1992 incarnation of the Harlem choir along with still pictures of John and Yoko.
44 – Happy Xmas (War is Over) #3 (2003)
The final version is a very cruel video showing moving images and footage of war consequences, suffering around the world.
45 – Mind Games #1 (1992)
46 – Mind Games #2 (2010)
Version 1 shows footage from the hot-air balloon ride December 5, 1969, along with outtake footage from the “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” video shoot on October 17, 1974, plus some other stuff. While version 2 uses only more outtake footage from the Oct 17, 1974 video shoot, bought by Yoko Ono in 2003.
WALLS AND BRIDGES
47 – #9 Dream #1 (1992)
48 – #9 Dream #2 (2003)
Version 1 is simply a collage of well know videos from 1969/1972, and Version 2, another collage of videos, using as base, the experimental film “Smile” from 1968, with John’s face in slow motion.
49 – Whatever Gets You Thru The Night #1 (1974)
The original 1:52 video for this song was filmed on October 17, 1974. Director Peter Cooper and a film crew followed John as he travelled around the city. More of this footage appears in the “Mind Games” video from 1992. In 2003, Yoko Ono bought all the outtake silent 16mm footage (over 40 minutes) at a Christie’s Auction and later used some fragments for the 2010 video of “Mind Games”.
From the Christie’s Auction description of the film footage: This footage (…) truly captures “a day in the life” of a post-Beatle John. One stipulation Lennon had was that he would “direct” the film and be able to edit and keep portions of it for his own use, which he later did.
The footage (…) is briefly described in the following ten “scenes:”
1. Lennon attending the premiere of the Robert Stigwood play, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road” at the Beacon Theater; also evident are Lennon’s close friends Peter Brown, Jack Douglas and girlfriend May Pang as well as Robert Stigwood himself
2. Lennon walking around midtown NYC and making a special stop at famed jewelry store, Tiffany’s, on 5th Avenue
3. Lennon walking around Central Park and dancing on a bandstand for a number of minutes, then playing on an empty bench; John, May and friends take a short car ride
4. Lennon feeding animals at the zoo with several children and then imitating a baboon for them
5. Lennon in Central Park signing autographs for children and playing on park statues with them
6. Lennon walking alone in Central Park with some excellent close-ups of his face
7. Lennon playing an organ and dancing on a small stage in Central Park
8. Lennon taking over a vending cart in Central Park performing some magic tricks as a small crowd gathers; John shares some food with fans
9. Lennon riding in a hansom cab around the streets of NYC, making several stops along the way to admire the buildings and to talk with fans, police, cab drivers and others; many great close-up shots of John (and the white hansom cab horse)
10. Lennon in his office bending some paperclips and taking phone calls; many close-up shots of John here with his “I Love Elvis” and “Save Lennon” buttons evident
Some of the footage was to be used for the European promotion of the single, but may never have been broadcast. A two minutes edit was used for “#9 Dream” in February 1975 (BBC1 Top Of The Tops, not listed as a separate promo video here). This footage was later used in 1992 in “The John Lennon Video Collection” for the video assembled for “Mind Games”. A different edit saw the light in 2003 in the “Lennon Legend” video compilation.
More outtake footage is available among collectors, and a 6:05 edit of this footage is available on YouTube here.
50 – Whatever Gets You Thru The Night #2 (1992)
51 – Whatever Gets You Thru The Night #3 (2003)
Cartoon- animated video using John’s drawings. Versions 2 and 3 could look the very same but they are not. Without counting the extra 11 second teaser intro for the 1992 video, Version 2 is 3 minute and 24 seconds long, while version 3 is 3 minute and 35 seconds long, so Version 3 is 11 seconds longer. Both are the same until 2:43, where there is extra cartoon animated video on Version 3 that is not on the other, plus the audio track used for the 2003 version is the full-length take with no fade out.
OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST
52 – Slippin’ and Slidin’ (1992)
53 – Stand By Me #1 (1992)
Originally taped for the “Old Grey Whistle Test” TV show, on April 8, 1975, these two “live in the studio” clips were used as music videos in 1992, respecting the live renditions.
54 – Stand By Me #2 (2003)
55 – Stand By Me #3 (2010)
Newly created videos using the “Old Grey Whistle Test” footage but also adding other well known footage from many Lennon eras. Plus, using the studio audio track from the record.
Version 2 is 4 min and 3 seconds long because it uses the full-length take, while Version 3 is the common version that last 3 minutes and 28 seconds. Both videos are the same from start to the 3:10 mark, after that, Version 2 has new footage not available on the other.
56 – (Just Like) Starting Over #1 (1992)
The original video shoot for this song was filmed November 26, 1980 in Central Park and the Superone Westwater Gallery, in New York, but the video was never finished because of his death. Later this footage was used on the 1981 video for “Woman”, and in 1992, reused for the new “(Just Like) Starting Over” video.
57 – (Just Like) Starting Over #2 (2000)
To commemorate 20 years of his death, this video was released December 8, 2000 (later used also in “Lennon Legend” from 2003). A very good conceptual video in the style of “Free as a Bird”, using tons of references to his life and musical career.
58 – Watching The Wheels (2003)
A video for “Lennon Legend”, created using home movie footage of the Lennons at home and on vacation.
59 – Woman #1 (1981)
60 – Woman #2 (1992)
Directed by Yoko Ono, adding some additional footage of her from 1981. Both versions are the same, except that #2 has the additional teaser intro. This video is also on the “Lennon Legend” compilation from 2003.
61 – Beautiful Boy (2003)
Another “Lennon Legend” video using home movie footage, this time from a vacation in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, April 13, 1980.
MILK AND HONEY
62 – Nobody Told Me #1 (1983)
63 – Nobody Told Me #2 (1992)
Version 1 and 2 could also look the same from start to 3:20, but from 3:21 to the end, both versions have different footage.
64 – Nobody Told Me #3 (2003)
A newly created video for “Lennon Legend”, using footage from Ascot, England and very rare footage from Riverdale, NJ , both from 1971.
65 – Grow Old With Me #1 (1983)
66 – Grow Old With Me #2 (1992)
Produced by Stanley Dorfman, both versions are the same, except for the 1992 teaser intro. A collage of not so rare footage.
67 – I’m Stepping Out #1 (1984)
68 – I’m Stepping Out #2 (1992)
Another Stanley Dorfman video, both versions are the same, except for the 1992 teaser intro. Another video collage using every possible Lennon footage (including some from the “Let it Be” sessions), sometimes the very same footage that is present on many other videos.
69 – Borrowed Time #1 (1984)
70 – Borrowed Time #2 (1984)
71 – Borrowed Time #3 (1992)
The first three versions are the same, but each has a unique variation:
Version 1 has a slate showing a picture of Yoko and John with the title “Living On Borrowed Time”, and during the final part the credits appear over John’s face: “Copyright 1984 Polygram Records, Inc”.
Version 2 has a blue screen, no picture, with a slate that reads “Borrowed Time” and there is no copyright credits during the end.
Version 3 has the teaser intro from the 1992 Video Collection.
72 – Borrowed Time #4 (2003)
Another new conceptual video created for “Lennon Legend”, using pictures of John as a child creating a “motion sequence”, plus some other footage from various periods of his career and life, some very rare. The audio is also the full-length take, no fade-out.
73 – Every Man has a Woman (1984)
A not so well known official video. A conceptual story of a man meeting a woman in a restaurant. This video has never been on any of the official video collections to date.
JOHN LENNON ANTHOLOGY
74 – I’m Losing You (Anthology Version) (1998)
75 – I’m Losing You (Anthology Version) (1998 Behind The Scenes)
76 – Only You (1998)
As part of the ‘Lennon Anthology’ box set, two promotional videos were created. “I’m Losing You” featuring the original members of Cheap Trick and a combination of original Lennon drawings in animation, directed by Dean Karr. And “Only You”, another collage of well known footage.
Plus, a “Behind the Scenes” video for “I’m Losing You” was also sent to the media as an individual video.
Do not confuse this video (“I’m Losing You (Anthology Version))” with the unreleased footage from 1980, that recently was released by the bootleg label His Master’s Choice. That comes from an unfinished attempt to record a video for the released version on LP of the song “I’m Losing You” (which is not the Cheap Trick version), Lennon didn’t liked the way he looked and the video was never finished, also, it does not count as an official videoclip because all we have is outtake footage.
John Lennon footage is also present on two Yoko Ono Videos:
Walking on Thin Ice (1981)
Goodbye Sadness (1981)
And also original footage of John was used for some charity videos:
Give Peace a Chance (1991 The Peace Choir)
Imagine (2014 UNICEF Various Artists)
The Japanese bootleg label Misterclaudel have put together all the videos in a 4 DVD Box set, using the best possible sources and quality, adding some goodies, like slates, outtakes and original TV commercials, plus the unreleased or hard to find versions of some videos.
Mike Carrera supplied the text and many images for this article, we have inserted appropriate video examples from John Lennon’s official YouTube channel and made a few corrections, as well as depicted some of the official releases where you can find the videos discussed here.